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What does good mattress support look like?

Monday, 19 December 2011 10:14

Sleeping on an unsupportive mattress can cause or worsen back aches and pains. Lack of support from a mattress encourages poor posture, strains muscles and does not help keep the spine in alignment, all of which contribute to back pain. But what does correct support look and feel like?


A good mattress is designed to enhance your sleep by providing correct anatomical support. Correct anatomical support means that your sleep system supports your body in the same posture as when you are standing, while cradling it along its curves. If this is achieved you will have a better sleep and the best results. For many years we were told that the best support is a firm mattress as it keeps your back straight, recently this has been proven incorrect as your muscles have to work to adapt to the mattress support. The perfect solution is your mattress support adapting to you, not vice versa, to allow your muscles to relax.


The mattress that provides the best support is not too firm and not too soft. It will be determined by the size of the person that is sleeping on it. People 90kg+ will feel more comfortable and be better supported by a firmer mattress; a smaller person (less than 55kg) will be properly supported on a softer mattress, and a medium mattress is generally suitable for people 55-90kg. Each individual will need to try the mattresses in order to determine which mattress provides the best support and preferred comfort.


Your sleep position will also determine which mattress choice is best for you. If you sleep on your side, go for something soft-medium to allow your shoulders and hips to sink into the mattress to keep your spine straight, and to ensure there is no excess compression at these pressure points. For those who sleep on their back, a firmer feel for their size is recommended, it will help distribute the weight of their hip region and ensure their waist and torso are supported, maintaining the spine's natural curve. There should also be minimal gaps between your shoulders and hips.


A common problem when choosing mattresses when you have a partner is that a lot of the time, one partner ends up compromising. If one partner weighs 55kg and the other is 90kg, they will inevitably require somewhat different support levels. A way around this is to look for a bed slat base that is adjustable; this allows you to adjust the tension of the slats to softer or firmer, depending on your needs. If you require two different mattresses as well, enquire about choosing two different firmness's housed in the same mattress cover like the Dorsal Natural Mattresses

10 Mistakes to Avoid When Buying a Mattress

Tuesday, 22 November 2011 09:23

This article was contributed by Christopher Fitch, the Site Editor for QMattresses, a leading Mattress Reviews, ratings and sleep-information website.

When people decide to purchase a new mattress, they often undervalue the importance of their decision and end up with a product that not only leaves them dissatisfied, but potentially in pain for several years. When you consider that most people spend more time on their mattress than they do at work, it makes sense that the mattress buying process should take time, even a lot of time.

This short piece outlines the ten mistakes to avoid when buying a mattress. Simply knowing about these mistakes can help when scouting your next mattress purchase, whether it ends up being one of the models here at Natural Mattress, or a cookie-cutter innerspring mattress on sale at one of the national chains. Pay attention to these mistakes when shopping for your next mattress and chances are good that you will not only make a better-informed buying decision, but your overall satisfaction level will be higher than someone who ignores these common mistakes altogether.

1. Not Knowing Your Sleep Type - We all sleep differently, and the odds are good that you sleep differently from your partner as well. This means you must speak your piece and not settle with the all-too-common “I’m happy with whatever you like, honey,” response. By letting your salesperson know what your individual sleep style is, he can better recommend a product that will keep both you and your partner happy. The most important part is that weight difference usually requires different mattress firmness to feel comfortable. The Dorsal mattress and Dynamic Slats systems recognize just how individualized your sleep style can be, and they can help provide different mattress core within a mattress for people who share their mattress with a partner.

2. Not Testing the Mattress… Properly - Too often in the retail world, we see people lean on the mattress with their hand, then lay down… on their back! Statistically, most people sleep on their side, so it is amazing to see so many people testing mattresses on their back. Regardless, you will not be one these sudden-back-sleepers in the showroom after reading this. Make sure to take the few minutes to test the mattress in the position you sleep in while on your mattress at home. (Need a pillow? Ask for one, even a semi-qualified salesperson will gladly offer one to help make your testing experience more realistic).

3. Not Learning More About The Mattress (detailed mattress materials, reviews, ratings, complaints, warranty) - Buying a mattress “blindly” is the leading cause of dissatisfaction among mattress owners. But too often consumers allow themselves to get “bullied” into the product of the day without getting a second opinion from others. Checking detailed mattress materials, reviews, ratings and complaints is a good idea before shelling out your money – you would be surprised at what you will learn. Also, ask for written details as some salespeople will tell you everything good you like to hear; some people may claim 100% natural latex mattress while it actually has synthetic latex in it. It’s best to know about this fickle piece of documentation before finding out the hard way that it is not what you thought it was.

4. Making Assumptions About Price and Comfort - Although the more you pay for a mattress, the higher the likelihood that you are getting better quality materials, it does not necessarily mean it will be a more-comfortable mattress for you. Some of the most expensive mattresses come with the highest dissatisfaction ratings among owners – memory foam and innerspring products alike. In many cases, price works along the same lines as expectations. That is to say, many consumers feel that if they pay more money for a mattress, they should get more comfort from a mattress. But spending a lot has nothing to do with whether that product is right for you. Don’t mistake price for comfort and take the time to get to know what the mattress is all about before you spend your money.

5. Believing that the Foundation Plays a Secondary Role To the Mattress. -A full mattress set consists of the mattress itself as well as the foundation (also known as box spring). While most consumers focus on what goes into the mattress, it is worth looking at the foundation as the invaluable second part of a full mattress set. No matter how comfortable a mattress may seem, if you do not use an appropriate, high quality foundation, the comfort characteristics could be lost on a poor foundation. In many ways, the foundation itself actually contributes more to the sleep experience.

6. Failure To Consider Alternatives - Many shoppers have a price point or product type in mind and refuse to consider alternative recommendations by the salesperson. If the salesperson fully understands your needs and preferences, chances are quite good that he or she can offer a couple of alternatives to let you see what other brands can offer. In some cases, they will cost a little more, but refusing to consider those alternatives could make for a big mistake down the road. Ask many questions, keeping your options open to suggestions and alternatives may result in improved sleep quality, so don’t rule out products or brands you never considered before.

7. Making Impulsive Decisions - It is easy to fall in love with a mattress based on price or how it feels in the showroom. Unless your mattress has burnt down and you have nowhere to sleep that night (or if a sale ends that specific day), there is no need to make a rushed decision about a mattress. Taking notes about what you liked about the mattress in question and going home to “sleep on it” before making the purchase is a good thing. You may realize the next morning that there are other deals or options you have not considered yet or that the mattress in question might not accommodate your sleep style the way your existing mattress does. Try to never buy a new mattress on the same day that you start your search.

8. Not Knowing Who You Are Buying From - The proliferation of mattress retailers has resulted in healthy competition in the industry. However, some retailers are not quite as reputable as others. Buying a bad mattress is one thing; buying it from a bad retailer is another. Before spending your money at a retailer you know little about, try researching the outfit to make sure they stand by their service promise and have been in business long enough to truly understand the industry. No matter how good a mattress might be dealing with a terrible retailer can ruin your entire mattress buying experience.

9. Not Thinking a Supportive Mattress is as Important as a Comfortable One – Too hard or too soft doesn’t provide a good night’s sleep, a good balance is that you feel comfortable and your spine is aligned straight while you sleep on side. Although the National Sleep Foundation underlines the importance of having a comfortable mattress if you want to get the right hours of sleep every night, sleeping on a supportive mattress is probably even more important. The reason is that an unsupportive mattress will not only have you tossing and turning throughout the night due to the bad sleeping posture, but it will leave you waking up with aches and pains, robbing you of the necessary deep-sleep your body needs to recover. While comfort is certainly important, a supportive mattress that allows your body to rest the way it needs is even more valuable.

10. Not Taking Care of The Mattress - While it is true that the salesperson encouraging you to add a mattress protector to your purchase is indeed an “upsell,” these protectors are essential gear for your mattress. Not only will they keep your mattress isolated from unwanted spills or body fluids (most people sweat while they sleep), it will avoid staining and thereby keep the mattress warranty valid should you ever need to make a claim. Just make sure your mattress protector will have a similar property as your mattress, such as good air circulation. Taking care of your mattress is as important as maintaining your vehicle – not only good for the warranty, but for the general performance as well. Keep that in mind.

The Importance of a Good Bed Base

Thursday, 17 November 2011 08:40

Having the perfect mattress isn’t entirely up to the mattress itself. When investing in a quality mattress, it is important to team it with a quality base in order to get the most out of it. Choosing the right bed base will make all the difference. Now, which one to choose? Here is a guide to help you navigate the bed base options on the market.

Ensemble vs. Slats
Ensemble bases are usually sold with inner spring mattresses. They are upholstered boxes with springs inside and are usually very low to the ground. This inhibits the mattresses ability to ventilate and is known for providing the perfect environment for breeding dustmites.

Slatted bases are made from a series of flexible timber slats, usually inside a metal frame. They can be adjustable or motorised and offer superior support and ventilation for a comfortable sleep. The adjustable slats can accommodate changing lifestyles whether you are a growing child or teenager, planning to get pregnant, or they can simply adapt with you as your bodies needs change through the life of the bed.


> Flexible

The flexibility of the timber slats allows them to absorb downward pressure and help the mattress contour around your shape for a personalised, supported sleep.

> Minimises Pressure Points
Flexible slatted bases are designed to alleviate back pressure and pain that is caused by sleep systems that are too firm or too soft.

> Air Flow
The gaps between each slat and the nature of it being elevated off the floor, allows for ventilation around the mattress. This is important in maintaining a comfortable sleeping temperature.

> Eliminates Dustmites
Choosing a slat base over an ensemble base means you are eliminating a large environment that dustmites and allergens inhabited, thereby reducing adverse reactions for those who suffer allergies.

> Minimal Partner Disturbance
Flexible slatted bases are designed with two sets of slats and a central support bar, the advantage of this is when two people share the bed, they are not sharing the same slats, they have their own set, and movements on one side will not carry through to the other side. This results in minimal partner disturbance through the night, and differs to many ensemble style bases where the springs or coils are connected and movements can reverberate through.


> Customisable

Adjustable slats have the added benefit of rigidity adjusters which allow you to vary the tension over your back area independently of your partner. This feature is great when each partner has different preferences for firm or soft, or different requirements due to varying body weights.

> Changing Lifestyles
The ability to adjust the tension of the slats makes these perfect for those with changing lifestyles. Whether it is for a woman who is planning to get pregnant, or there is simply the chance that through the course of owning the bed your weight may alter (if you plan on having the bed for 8-10 years this is a likely scenario for many) the slats can adjust to such changes in weight, height and required support.  Adjustable support is also idea for growing children or teens, a 12 year old will require very different support when they are 17, although it is often the case that they will have the same bed throughout this period.


> Head & Feet Elevation
Motorised slats allow you to raise and lower you head and feet using a remote control. These bases are great for people who like to relax in bed while reading and watching TV in a comfortable position. They are also a great option for people who have health concerns and need to be elevated when sleeping or have to spend extended periods of time in bed.  Motorised beds have largely been viewed as medical aids, the lifestyle and physical benefits they can bring to people of all ages means people are starting to view then in a new light.

Lifestyle Benefits: adjust the head or feet or both for comfortable reading in bed, working in bed, watching TV or movies and so on.

Health Benefits: sleeping with your head and feet raised is known to assist with circulation, reduce cramping (via improved circulation), and in some cases reduce snoring by opening up the nasal passage.  A motorised bed is also extremely ideal if you are planning parenthood, throughout the pregnancy phase you may adjust the bed to your comfort, and during the nursing stage you can raise and lower the bed with ease.

How to Tell if you Need A New Mattress

Friday, 14 October 2011 13:56

When you have a piece of furniture that needs replacing, it’s because it is old, out of style, broken or no longer suits your needs. With a mattress, it’s not always so easy to tell that you need a new one. Here are a few pointers to help recognise if it’s time for a new mattress.

If your mattress has become uncomfortable and you are waking with aches and pains or if you have developed reoccurring back pain, it may be time to replace your mattress.

If your mattress is showing visible signs of sagging or indentations and makes you and your partner roll to the middle of the bed.

If your mattress is showing signs of wear and tear, is lumpy or makes creaking noises when you move.

If your lifestyle situation changes, you may require a new mattress. For example, sharing a mattress with a partner rather than on your own may mean you need a new mattress to suit you both.

If you have recently slept over at a friend’s house or at a hotel and it has resulted in the best sleep you’ve had in a long while, it may be time to rethink how your mattress is performing.

As we get older, our bodies change and our mattress should change with it. This may mean upgrading to mattress with adjustable or motorised slats or changing to a mattress that doesn’t need to be turned or flipped.

For hygienic reasons, your mattress should be replaced every 10-12 years. Even if your warranty is covered for 15-20 years, that covers the materials, not necessarily the support.

As new technology in manufacturing processes and materials improve, new mattress options are introduced to the consumer to provide a different sleep solution. This may include mattresses that are anti-allergic, natural, breathable, etc. that were previously unavailable.

If you wake in the morning feeling exhausted even if you have had 8 hours sleep, it may mean your mattress is no longer giving you the support you need, making you toss and turn during the night to get comfortable.

Tips For Mattress Shopping

Tuesday, 27 September 2011 16:02

Article written by Eliza Williams (Beyond Furniture)

We have noticed that many people have an anxiety about mattress shopping and selection, more so than with other furniture purchases.  This is understandable though, as there does seem like extra pressure to make the right decision about a mattress, given it will be where you sleep for the next few years, and not only does it have to be comfortable now it needs to last the distance.  Its also a purchase we are not very practised at, you don’t buy a mattress often, and in the time frame since you last purchased, the whole market has changed, with new studies and new products.  The anxiety is then compounded when you enter the research phase; there are so many different types of mattresses, with so many different claims, and such a broad range of prices for seemingly similar products.  So where do you start?

There are 3 broad rules most people can agree on:
1)    Buy the best mattress you can afford, it should be viewed as an investment in your health
2)    Buy a comfortable & supportive mattress, supportive means when you are lying on your side, your spine is aligned.
3)    Buy the biggest size that will fit, you will always sleep better on a bigger bed

Before you even walk out the door, you should answer a few questions about your sleep habits, this will define what you are looking for, and you can focus your search.  Then you can test the options available within the parameters of the goals you have set, and good sales assistants should be able to fit you to a bed based on your physical needs and your list of goals.

Step 1: Write down the answers to the following questions

Write down the answers to the following series of questions, if you will be sharing with your partner, ask them to do the same.  Once you have finished, look down your list, you have just outlined all the things you should be looking for in your new mattress.  When you are researching, look for mattresses that specifically mention how they address the things on your list, the mattress type that seems to meet the most of your goals is a good place to start looking. 

1. What size are you looking for (remembering the biggest that fits in your room is the best!)?
2. What is your price range?
3. What comfort level do you prefer? (soft, medium, firm, pillowy, etc)
4. What is your height?
5. What is your weight? (Be honest, the support you require, and how soft or firm a bed feels will be impacted by your weight)
6. Are you a hot sleeper, or a cold sleeper?
7. Do you suffer allergies?
8. Would you prefer to sleep on a mattress free from chemicals and synthetic fibres?
9. Do you suffer any injuries or pain? Are they related or aggravated by sleep?
10.  Are you generally a poor sleeper? Do you struggle to fall asleep, or are you restless?
11. Do you think there may be any major lifestyle changes in the next 5 years or so, such as significant weight gain or loss, or pregnancy?

And a few that relate to your current sleep system:
- What are you currently sleeping on?
- How do you find the comfort of it?
- How do you find the support?
- Are you waking up with any aches or pains?
- Do you have any complaints about the system- is it noisy or creaky, lumpy, do you roll in etc?
- Do you ever get cramps or pins and needles in the night?

Step 2: Based on your list, do a bit of research to see whats out there

Google is a good place to start, but be warned, there is a huge variety of mattresses on offer, all claiming various things, and it is easy to become overwhelmed and frustrated.  Remain clear headed, start with your budget, take a look at what options are in your price range.  There are 3 main types of mattresses available in Australia;

- Inner Spring & Coils: these are declining in popularity in favour of foam and latex which provide a more elastic support that responds to your body.
- Latex: there is a big range of latex available, they vary greatly in their quality and benefits.  Use the price tags to roughly guide you, and keep your goals in mind when looking at the different types.  There is no governing body on the labelling of mattresses in Australia, be a bit wary with claims of Talalay and natural etc.  The definitions are intentionally confusing, Talalay does not necessarily mean natural, it is a manufacturing process, and Natural may just refer to the upper layer of the mattress, or an element of it.
- Foam: including Memory Foam (including Tempur models), Natural Foam and synthetic foams.  With foam it is important to remember that the range of quality and benefits is as broad as for inner spring and latex, there are inexpensive models at the bottom, and premium models that are some of the most innovative and use the latest technology to offer incredible support & comfort. 

(Latex is also technically a foam mattress, although due to the broad range of latex types it is largely considered in its own category; however natural latex is foam made from tree sap, and synthetic latex is a foam made from synthetic materials designed to have similar reactive properties to natural latex).

Once you have discovered the three main categories, write down the ones that are within your budget and appear to meet some of your needs and call the stores to find out some more. When you ring the store, make sure they have the model you are interested in on display, also ask a few questions about the product.  The sales person should know the mattresses in detail, however look out for the sales people that ask you questions relating to your needs, the sales person that does has been trained to help you find a mattress based on your sleep experience, these are good stores to visit first.

This is a good time to point out, as inevitably once you start talking to the sales people you will start to hear the term ‘sleep systems’ rather then mattresses. A sleep system is made up of more than the mattress, it will be the base (whether it is ensemble or slats), plus mattress, plus pillow. Knowing which mattresses you are interested in is the first step though, the rest of the sleep system should be designed around the mattress, and whilst it is a huge factor in buying a new sleep system, it can be dealt with later.

Step 3: Testing Mattresses

Find a few stores to visit that have what you are looking for, ideally they are close together, but it is something you should put an afternoon aside for, it is best to test them on the same day, so you can recall the differences.  A few key factors when going shopping for a mattress:

- If you are sharing with a partner, take them with you, it’s important to test them together.  If dragging the hubby along means bribing him with a lunch out first, then do it.
- Wear comfy clothes, maybe not quite your pj’s, but close, a pair of tracksuit pants and a t-shirt, and shoes you can slip on and off easily, you want to be comfortable when testing the bed.
- Allow time, once in the store narrow down a few of your favourites then spend at least ten minutes on each.  Lie in the position you sleep in.  The sales person should offer you the time and space to do this in peace, if not, simply ask them.  Once you have gotten down to the finalists, try and spend up to half an hour on the mattress. 
- In order to do this, it’s a good idea to try and do the mattress testing in a stores quieter period, a week-day, or a Thursday night will mean you are not hurried by the next person wanting to test it out.
- If you have a special pillow - take it along (seriously!) the mattress needs to be comfortable for you.
- Ask lots of questions, but also check to see if the sales person is asking you lots of questions.  A good sales person should have ‘sized you up’, and matched you to the correct support (just like measuring your foot, and checking your arch when you buy new runners).  They should have then fired a series of questions at you just like the ones in the first section of this article, and addressed each of your areas of concern and matched you to a mattress to meet your goals.
- If you and your partner have very different needs or goals, do not compromise them, tell the sales person the differences, the latest sleep systems, such as the Dorsal sleep systems, offer customised support and comfort on each side of the bed, so no more compromises!

Step 4: Selecting a Mattress

After testing the mattress it is normal to do a bit more research on the details at home.  Stick to the options you have narrowed it down to though, as its easy to get distracted by conflicting info at this point.  A mattress is personal, you need to go with what you instinctively thought was best for you, at the end of the day ask yourself, which mattress would I most like to go home to tonight? Is it the best mattress I can afford? Am I comfortable in this decision?
If yes, then go for it.

Need a point in the right direction?

The Dorsal range of sleep systems offers incredible comfort & support, in addition to being natural, hygienic, and cool.  They are manufactured in Italy and boast some of the latest sleep innovations, check them out, or call Beyond Furniture on 1300 11 22 33 to learn more.

- Do you suffer aches and pains? Like the idea of memory foam but want something natural, and something that breathes? Check out the Zefiro mattress, the latest innovation.
- Do you want the perfect all rounder? Supportive, comfortable, natural, hygienic and with great air circulation (open cell constriction).  Check out the Triocell, the people’s (& staff’s!!) choice.
- Looking for the latest innovations, comfort and support for a great price, check out the Duocell model.
- Like memory foam, but want it natural with great air ventilation (open cell construction)? Check out the Dorsal’s natural memory model ‘Etoile’.

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